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Signaling and mayday simulation in Vietnamese shrimp fishermen on the Gulf Coast.

Levin JL; Gilmore K; Carruth A; Wickman AW; Shepard S; Nonnenmann M; White M; Gallardo G; Evert B
J Agromedicine 2010 Jul; 15(3):314
Preparation of commercial fishermen for emergencies aboard vessel can enhance crew survival. Receptiveness to safety training may be influenced by cultural factors. In the US, Coast Guard District 8 has the second highest level of vessel loss and crew fatalities in commercial fishermen. A cross-sectional survey of this group near the Port of Galveston, Texas in 2004 revealed a majority of the commercial fishermen and 95% of the shrimp fishermen to be Asian, predominantly Vietnamese. Many claimed to speak little or no English. The US Coast Guard (USCG) has reported multiple navigational situations in high traffic areas involving these vessels, resulting from failure to properly signal or communicate ship-to-ship. Two key skills identified by the USCG are use of the signaling horn and executing a mayday call. Reported obstacles have been lack of understanding and language barriers. A model was built replicating a vessel's steering wheel, speed control, horn blast, and radio, in order to simulate the bridge of a fishing vessel. Professional video/audio footage of approaching freighters was produced. Using this footage, vessel captains are instructed by an experienced mariner in Vietnamese how to listen to and signal approaching vessels with the horn. Using a double-sided tip card with English and Vietnamese instructions, they are also able to practice the mayday call. This "three-dimensional" poster will illustrate how the training is conducted. This training has been well received by Vietnamese shrimp fishermen along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast and has served as an important survey recruitment tool during the second phase of the project. From 2004-2008, 387 have been trained (including repeats). This training module serves as an example of research to practice (r2p). This hands-on experience provided in Vietnamese by experienced instructors is responsive to findings of the early project survey and focus groups. It illustrates the importance of securing stakeholder input and considering cultural factors in the design of workplace safety training interventions in this group.
Fishing-industry; Workers; Safety-measures; Training; Demographic-characteristics; Sociological-factors; Morbidity-rates; Mortality-rates; Models
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Texas Health Center at Tyler
Page last reviewed: October 21, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division